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Best Fantasy Books of the 90s

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The Eye of the World

by Robert Jordan

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

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Assassin's Apprentice

by Robin Hobb

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Young Fitz is the bastard son of the noble Prince Chivalry, raised in the shadow of the royal court by his father’s gruff stableman. He is treated as an outcast by all the royalty except the devious King Shrewd, who has him secretly tutored in the arts of the assassin. For in Fitz’s blood runs the magic Skill—and the darker knowledge of a child raised with the stable hounds and rejected by his family.
 
As barbarous raiders ravage the coasts, Fitz is growing to manhood. Soon he will face his first dangerous, soul-shattering mission. And though some regard him as a threat to the throne, he may just be the key to the survival of the kingdom.
 
Praise for Robin Hobb and Assassin’s Apprentice
 
“Fantasy as it ought to be written . . . Robin Hobb’s books are diamonds in a sea of zircons.”—George R. R. Martin
 
“A gleaming debut in the crowded field of epic fantasies . . . a delightful take on the powers and politics behind the throne.”Publishers Weekly
 
“This is the kind of book you fall into, and start reading slower as you get to the end, because you don’t want it to be over.”—Steven Brust
British Fantasy Society
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George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones 5-Book Boxed Set

by George R. R. Martin

For the first time, all five novels in the epic fantasy series that inspired HBO’s Game of Thrones are together in one boxed set. An immersive entertainment experience unlike any other, A Song of Ice and Fire has earned George R. R. Martin—dubbed “the American Tolkien” by Time magazine—international acclaim and millions of loyal readers. Now here is the entire monumental cycle:
 
A GAME OF THRONES
A CLASH OF KINGS
A STORM OF SWORDS
A FEAST FOR CROWS
A DANCE WITH DRAGONS
 
“One of the best series in the history of fantasy.”—Los Angeles Times
 
Winter is coming. Such is the stern motto of House Stark, the northernmost of the fiefdoms that owe allegiance to King Robert Baratheon in far-off King’s Landing. There Eddard Stark of Winterfell rules in Robert’s name. There his family dwells in peace and comfort: his proud wife, Catelyn; his sons Robb, Brandon, and Rickon; his daughters Sansa and Arya; and his bastard son, Jon Snow. Far to the north, behind the towering Wall, lie savage Wildings and worse—unnatural things relegated to myth during the centuries-long summer, but proving all too real and all too deadly in the turning of the season.
 
Yet a more immediate threat lurks to the south, where Jon Arryn, the Hand of the King, has died under mysterious circumstances. Now Robert is riding north to Winterfell, bringing his queen, the lovely but cold Cersei, his son, the cruel, vainglorious Prince Joffrey, and the queen’s brothers Jaime and Tyrion of the powerful and wealthy House Lannister—the first a swordsman without equal, the second a dwarf whose stunted stature belies a brilliant mind. All are heading for Winterfell and a fateful encounter that will change the course of kingdoms.
 
Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea, Prince Viserys, heir of the fallen House Targaryen, which once ruled all of Westeros, schemes to reclaim the throne with an army of barbarian Dothraki—whose loyalty he will purchase in the only coin left to him: his beautiful yet innocent sister, Daenerys.
 
“Long live George Martin . . . a literary dervish, enthralled by complicated characters and vivid language, and bursting with the wild vision of the very best tale tellers.”—The New York Times
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Tigana: Anniversary Edition

by Guy Gavriel Kay

Tigana is the magical story of a beleaguered land struggling to be free. It is the tale of a people so cursed by the black sorcery of a cruel despotic king that even the name of their once-beautiful homeland cannot be spoken or remembered.
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The Dragonbone Chair: Book One of Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn

by Tad Williams

New York Times-bestselling Tad Williams’ landmark epic fantasy saga of Osten Ard begins an exciting new cycle! 
 
“One of my favorite fantasy series.” —George R. R. Martin • “Groundbreaking.” —Patrick Rothfuss • “One of the great fantasy epics of all time.” —Christopher Paolini
 
With The Dragonbone Chair, Tad Williams introduced readers to the incredible fantasy world of Osten Ard. His beloved, internationally bestselling series Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn inspired a generation of modern fantasy writers, including George R.R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and Christopher Paolini, and defined Tad Williams as one of the most important fantasy writers of our time. 

This edition features a brand-new introduction from Tad Williams' editor as well as the original introduction from Williams himself! 

BOOK ONE: THE DRAGONBONE CHAIR
 
A war fueled by the powers of dark sorcery is about to engulf the peaceful land of Osten Ard—for Prester John, the High King, lies dying. And with his death, the Storm King, the undead ruler of the elf-like Sithi, seizes the chance to regain his lost realm through a pact with the newly ascended king. Knowing the consequences of this bargain, the king’s younger brother joins with a small, scattered group of scholars, the League of the Scroll, to confront the true danger threatening Osten Ard. 
 
Simon, a kitchen boy from the royal castle unknowingly apprenticed to a member of this League, will be sent on a quest that offers the only hope of salvation, a deadly riddle concerning long-lost swords of power. Compelled by fate and perilous magics, he must leave the only home he’s ever known and face enemies more terrifying than Osten Ard has ever seen, even as the land itself begins to die.
 
After the landmark Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy, the epic saga of Osten Ard continues with the brand-new novel, The Heart of What Was Lost. Then don’t miss the upcoming trilogy, The Last King of Osten Ard, beginning with The Witchwood Crown!
 
Praise for Osten Ard:
 
“Inspired me to write my own seven-book trilogy.... It’s one of my favorite fantasy series.”
—George R. R. Martin, New York Times-bestselling author of The Game of Thrones
 
“Groundbreaking...changed how people thought of the genre, and paved the way for so much modern fantasy. Including mine.”
—Patrick Rothfuss, New York Times-bestselling author of The Name of the Wind
 
“Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn is one of the great fantasy epics of all time.”
—Christopher Paolini, New York Times-bestselling author of Eragon
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His Dark Materials Omnibus

by Philip Pullman

The Golden CompassThe Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass are available together in one volume perfect for any fan or newcomer to this modern fantasy classic series that has graced the New York TimesWall Street JournalSan Francisco ChronicleBook Sense, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.

These thrilling adventures tell the story of Lyra and Will—two ordinary children on a perilous journey through shimmering haunted otherworlds. They will meet witches and armored bears, fallen angels and soul-eating specters. And in the end, the fate of both the living—and the dead—will rely on them.

Phillip Pullman’s spellbinding His Dark Materials trilogy has captivated readers for over twenty years and won acclaim at every turn. It will have you questioning everything you know about your world and wondering what really lies just out of reach.

Honors and Praise for His Dark Materials:
An Entertainment Weekly All-Time Greatest Novel

A Newsweek Top 100 Book of All Time


"Arguably the best juvenile fantasy novel of the past twenty years." —The Washington Post
 
"Very grand indeed." —The New York Times

“Pullman is quite possibly a genius.” —Newsweek



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Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

by Neil Gaiman

According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world's only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth's mortals since The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture.

And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist . . .

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The Magic of Recluce

by L. E. Modesitt Jr.

With The Magic of Recluce, L.E. Modesitt made his impressive hardcover debut, breaking out in wide scope and grand scale with a novel in the great tradition of the war between good and evil in a wonderful fantasy world. Modesitt had been producing fast-paced, slickly-written novels of SF adventure, often compared to the work of Keith Laumer and Gordon R. Dickson. Then, in his biggest and best book yet, he broadened his canvas and turned to fantasy and magic, stepping immediately into the front rank of contemporary fantasy writers.

The Magic of Recluce is a carefully-plotted fantasy novel of character about the growth and education of a young magician. In it, Modesitt confronts real moral issues with gripping force, builds atmosphere slowly and convincingly and gives his central character, Lerris, real intellectual challenges. This is the kind of highly-rationalized fantasy that Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson write when they write fantasy, colorful and detailed.

He is given the standard two options: permanent exile from Recluce or the dangergeld, a complex, rule-laden wanderjahr in the lands beyond Recluce with the aim of learning how the world works and what his place in it might be. Many do not survive. He chooses dangergeld.

Though magic is rarely discussed openly in Recluce, it becomes clear, when Lerris is sent into intensive training for his quest, that he has a natural talent for it during his weapons lessons. And he will need magic in the lands beyond, where the power of the Chaos Wizards reigns unchecked. He must learn to use his powers in an orderly way or fall prey to Chaos.

Lerris may resent order, but he has no difficulty choosing good over evil. As he begins his lonely journey, he falls into the company of a gray magician, once of Recluce, who tutors him in the use of magic and shows him some of the devastation caused by the Chaos Wizards in the great wars between Chaos and Order of past times.

Lerris pursues a quest for knowledge and power that leads him across strange lands, through the ghostly ruins of the old capitol of Chaos, down the white roads of the Chaos Wizards to a final battle with the archenemy of Order, discovering in the end true control of magic, true love, and the beginning of true wisdom. An epic adventure, The Magic of Recluce0, is a triumph of fantasy.

The Magic of Recluce is the first book of the saga of Recluce.

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The Dark Elf Trilogy: Collector's Edition

by R.A. Salvatore

This three-book set is perfect for collectors and an ideal gift for readers unfamiliar with the Forgotten Realms setting. The Dark Elf Trilogy--Homeland, Exile, and Sojourn--are enclosed in a hard-sided slipcover case featuring the cover art from the series.
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The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes

by Neil Gaiman

New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman's transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.

 

In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.

 

This book also includes the story "The Sound of Her Wings," which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl Death.

Includes issues 1-8 of the original series with completely new coloring, approved by the author.
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Abhorsen

by Garth Nix

The apocalyptic conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Abhorsen series—an epic fantasy experience not to be missed.

The Abhorsen Sabriel and King Touchstone are missing, leaving only Lirael—newly come into her inheritance as the Abhorsen-in-Waiting—to stop the Destroyer. If Orannis's unspeakable powers are unleashed, it will mean the end of all Life. With only a vision from the Clayr to guide her, and the help of her companions, Sam, the Disreputable Dog, and Mogget, Lirael must search in both Life and Death for some means to defeat the evil destructor—before it is too late. . . .

Locus Young Adult
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Dragon Wing

by Margaret Weis

Preeminent storytellers Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman have redefined epic fantasy. Since the publication of their Dragonlance series, millions of readers have enjoyed their imaginative world-building, rich characterization, and intricate storylines. Now these bestsellingauthors bring their talents to one of the most innovative fantasy creations ever in Dragon Wing, the first volume in The Death Gate Cycle.
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The Sword of Truth, Boxed Set I, Books 1-3: Wizard's First Rule, Blood of the Fold ,Stone of Tears

by Terry Goodkind

The Sword of Truth, Boxed Set I, Books 1-3
Wizard's First Rule, Stone of Tears, and Blood of the Fold

Book 1: Wizards First Rule
The masterpiece that started The New York Times bestselling epic Sword of Truth

In the aftermath of the brutal murder of his father, a mysterious woman, Kahlan Amnell, appears in Richard Cypher's forest sanctuary seeking help . . . and more. His world, his very beliefs, are shattered when ancient debts come due with thundering violence.

In a dark age it takes courage to live, and more than mere courage to challenge those who hold dominion, Richard and Kahlan must take up that challenge or become the next victims. Beyond awaits a bewitching land where even the best of their hearts could betray them. Yet, Richard fears nothing so much as what secrets his sword might reveal about his own soul. Falling in love would destroy them--for reasons Richard can't imagine and Kahlan dare not say.
In their darkest hour, hunted relentlessly, tormented by treachery and loss, Kahlan calls upon Richard to reach beyond his sword--to invoke within himself something more noble. Neither knows that the rules of battle have just changed . . . or that their time has run out.
This is the beginning. One book. One Rule. Witness the birth of a legend.

Book 2: Stone of Tears
An Epic of Awesome Power

Kahlan has at last gained the one goal she had always thought was beyond her grasp ... love. Against all odds, the ancient bonds of secret oaths, and the dark talents of men long dead, Richard has won her heart.

Amid sudden and disastrous events, Richard's life is called due to satisfy those treacherous oaths. To save his life, Kahlan must forsake Richard's love and cast him into the chains of slavery, knowing there could be no sin worse than such a betrayal.

Richard is determined to unlock the secrets bound in the magic of ancient oaths and to again be free. Kahlan, alone with the terrible truth of what she has done, must set about altering the course of a world thrown into war. But even that may be easier than ever winning back the heart of the only man she will ever love.

Book 3: Blood of the Fold
An Epic of Two Worlds

In a world as rich and real as our own, Richard Rahl and Kahlan Amnell stand against the ancient forces which besiege the New World-- forces so terrible that when last they threatened, they could only be withstood by sealing off the Old World from whence they came. Now the barrier has been breached, and the New World is again beset by their evil power.

War and treachery plague the world, and only Richard and Kahlan can save it from an armageddon of unimaginable savagery and destruction.

Terry Goodkind, author of the brilliant bestsellers Wizard's First Rule and Stone of Tears, has created his most masterful epic yet, a sumptuous feast of magic and excitement replete with the wonders of his unique fantasy vision.

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The Nightrunners

by Joe R. Lansdale

In the field of country noir--the dark side of rural and small-town America--Lansdale staked his claim to East Texas with The Nightrunners. A '66 Chevy bears down on the countryside, with a carful of vicious teenagers and evil of Biblical proportions, in this terrifying morality tale of sex and violence. Here’s what Publishers Weekly just said in its starred review: “Lansdale’s The Nightrunners (1987)...set new standards for the depiction of graphic violence and is probably the best novel of its type between Psycho and The Silence of the Lambs ... This upsetting look at the human capacity for evil breaks with crime novel conventions when a supernatural element enters the story in the form of the grotesque deity known as the God of All Things Sharp...The Nightrunners retains its ability to awe and to horrify."
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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Parts One and Two

by J.K. Rowling

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on 30th July 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.
This Special Rehearsal Edition will be available to purchase until early 2017, after which a Definitive Edition of the script will go on sale.
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The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

by Stephen King

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba

“An impressive work of mythic magnitude that may turn out to be Stephen King’s greatest literary achievement” (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution), The Gunslinger is the first volume in the epic Dark Tower Series.

A #1 national bestseller, The Gunslinger introduces readers to one of Stephen King’s most powerful creations, Roland of Gilead: The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which mirrors our own in frightening ways, Roland tracks The Man in Black, encounters an enticing woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the boy from New York named Jake.

Inspired in part by the Robert Browning narrative poem, “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came,” The Gunslinger is “a compelling whirlpool of a story that draws one irretrievable to its center” (Milwaukee Sentinel). It is “brilliant and fresh…and will leave you panting for more” (Booklist).
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Heroes Die

by Matthew Woodring Stover

Renowned throughout the land of Ankhana as the Blade of Tyshalle, Caine has killed his share of monarchs and commoners, villains and heroes. He is relentless, unstoppable, simply the best there is at what he does.

At home on Earth, Caine is Hari Michaelson, a superstar whose adventures in Ankhana command an audience of billions. Yet he is shackled by a rigid caste society, bound to ignore the grim fact that he kills men on a far-off world for the entertainment of his own planet--and bound to keep his rage in check.

But now Michaelson has crossed the line. His estranged wife, Pallas Rill, has mysteriously disappeared in the slums of Ankhana. To save her, he must confront the greatest challenge of his life: a lethal game of cat and mouse with the most treacherous rulers of two worlds . . .

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Daughter of the Forest

by Juliet Marillier

Daughter of the Forest, the first book in Juliet Marillier's award-winning Sevenwaters Trilogy

Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment.

But Sorcha's joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift--by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.

When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all...

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Daggerspell

by Katharine Kerr

Even as a young girl,  Jill was a favorite of the magical, mysterious  Wildfolk, who appeared to her from their invisible  realm. Little did she know her extraordinary  friends represented but a glimpse of a forgotten past  and a fateful future. Four hundred years-and many  lifetimes-ago, one selfish young lord caused the  death of two innocent lovers. Then and there he  vowed never to rest until he'd rightened that  wrong-and laid the foundation for the lives of Jill  and all those whom she would hold dear: her  father, the mercenary soldier Cullyn; the exiled  berserker Rhodry Maelwaedd; and the ancient and  powerful herbman Nevyn, all bound in a struggle against  darkness. . . and a quest to fulfill the  destinies determined centuries ago. Here in this newly  revised edition comes the incredible novel that  began one of the best-loved fantasy seers in recent  years--a tale of bold adventure and timeless  love, perilous battle and pure magic. For  long-standing fans of Deverry and those who have yet to  experience this exciting series,  Daggerspell is a rare and special treat.
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Comment on this list

2 comments
Anonymous | 2018-06-28 08:45:34
I'm seeing a LOT of books on this list that are from the 80s, not the 90s.do my college homework I don't have time to delete them right now, but the conspicuously understandable ones are the early Dragon Lance books, early David Ed dings and Tad Williams books, and possibly a few others.
Anonymous | 2016-09-02 06:56:33
No Bone on this list? It's one of the best graphic novels ever made!

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